Harrowing Footage Shows North Korean Soldier Shot and Rescued During Defection

On November 13, a North Korean soldier defected through the demilitarized zone, eventually being shot 5 times by fellow North Korean soldiers before lying about 55 yards over the border, where he was dragged to safety by South Korean sergeants 40 minutes later. This video from the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission shows the harrowing escape from start to rescue.

Warning: this video contains graphic footage.

The solider, identified solely by his surname, Oh, made the defection by driving a military jeep toward the demilitarized zone before running across the border on foot after the vehicle became stuck off the road. North Korean soldiers chased after him, firing over 40 shots, 5 of which hit Oh. He was eventually dragged to safety by South Korean personnel, after which he was flown to Anjou Hospital, where he was successfully operated on, with doctors noting he was suffering from numerous ailments that indicated horrible conditions in North Korea.

If it's a little hard to keep track of what's going on with all the different cameras, this video will help to clarify the events: 

The Washington Post has reported that the actions of the North Korean soldiers violated the armistice agreement, both by firing at the defector and chasing him across the border. The agreement has been in place since the end of the Korean War in 1953. 

[via Jalopnik]

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Elan Govan's picture

Very fortunate to live in a country where this is not a reality. However.......always a good idea to stop and share info with border control guards even when driving through friendly countries.

That country's government and military should have been destroyed a long time ago. Lost opportunity.

Anonymous's picture

While I agree that the government of NK should ideally not exist (at least not in its current form), which opportunity is it that you're speaking of that was lost? Surely not the one where Chinese troops and Soviet air force pushed us back halfway across the peninsula where we fought to a rather bloody stalemate for two years before the fighting finally ended.

As far as wars go, that was not exactly a shining moment in American history given the piss poor job we actually did (for a variety of reasons, one of which was the heavy cuts in defense spending in the lead up to the war).

As for actually being capable of destroying the North Korean military and the government, clearly America is and always has been capable of doing so. China and the Soviet Union wouldn't have been able to stop it, short of nuclear war. The same goes for Vietnam. The politics involved that prevent the military from actually doing its job properly is not what I was addressing. The opportunity lost comes from them now being a nuclear power and no government willing to accept the risk of even a limited nuclear war.

It may still be possible to destroy North Korea's military and government without a nuclear retaliation, or a significant one. If that's the case then I believe it should be done before it really is too late.

Marius Pettersen's picture

But not without the destruction of Seoul. It would be hammered with artillery fire.

That's the claim from some. Doesn't mean it would happen.

Anonymous's picture

Do you have any evidence of a war scenario where Seoul would not be attacked? I haven't seen any simulation from a reputable source that doesn't show this. Every general, foreign policy expert, Pentagon official, NATO representative, etc etc I've read said that Seoul would be destroyed. It's a metropolis of 25 million people less than 50 miles from 100s if not 1000s of NK artillery weapons.

I didn't say or suggest that Seoul wouldn't be attacked. That said, I doubt it would be destroyed short of a nuke being used. And what you have read is the narrative that the media wants the public to read. It is typically the anti-war narrative these days.

Anonymous's picture

Please don’t assume what I’ve read and haven’t read. I didn’t do that for you, which is why I’m not trying to refute what you said, but am asking for any evidence to back your claim. If you don’t have any and it’s just your opinion that’s fine. But I’d be interested in reading any reputable source’s war simulation that claims Seoul wouldn’t be heavily damaged if not destroyed.

I spent most of my life in the military. I know what makes it out into the media and what doesn't. Even accurate information that makes it out to the media is often butchered into nonsense and jibberish by civilian journalists. Don't believe everything you read and don't assume that there is consensus just because that is all you hear.

Artillery pieces wouldn't last very long for the same reasons they didn't last very long during the Gulf and Iraq wars.

Dig a little deeper for differing points of view. There are plenty out there.

Anonymous's picture

OK so no direct evidence for the claim, just opinion based on previous experience. Gotcha.

I don't believe everything I read, which is why I asked for specifics in the first place.

There were plenty of warnings of SAM and AAA carnage waiting for American air forces in the run up to the Gulf War. In fact, just like with N. Korea, that was what the typical media narrative. What actually happened was like a person getting a mosquito bite.

Anonymous's picture

I see no reason to continue this conversation until you address my original point, which was to provide reputable evidence from an expert analysis of a war scenario that does not show heavy damage to Seoul during a modern Korean War. Until then, no offense, this is just hearsay from a guy on a photography forum. You’re entitled to your opinion, but it’s meaningless to me without verifiable evidence.

“I see no reason to continue this conversation until you address my original point, which was to provide reputable evidence from an expert analysis of a war scenario that does not show heavy damage to Seoul during a modern Korean War.”

You originally said it would be “destroyed.”

“Until then, no offense, this is just hearsay from a guy on a photography forum. You’re entitled to your opinion, but it’s meaningless to me without verifiable evidence.”

The examples I gave of the two Gulf Wars are not hearsay.

What’s meaningless in this case is someone unwilling to acknowledge military history.

Below is just a taste of what North Korea would face.


Anonymous's picture

You've got some nerve making assumptions about my ability to acknowledge history. I'm asking for verifiable evidence of a scenario where Seoul would not be heavily damaged or destroyed (which is what I asked for, I never said it would be destroyed, I was responding to another person's claim). You've given me no such report or verifiable information. You made your claim based on your experience and knowledge, which is fine, but again, absolutely meaningless to me and my original question. I mean no disrespect, but please, stop skirting my question if you have no verifiable expert analysis for me to review.

Marius Pettersen's picture

Highly likely. Artillery can't be shot down with anti-air and NK got thousands of them aimed at Seoul. Too many for the west to take out before they inflict massive damage. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Johnny Rico's picture

Lol, why is this on Fstoppers? Because if you are going for that clickbait (you are), you're a few days late to the party.

Alex Cooke's picture

I’m not going for any clickbait. It’s a striking example of the power of cameras, and that’s why it’s here.

Terry Henson's picture

Thank you for sharing Alex. Without cameras we would have been subject to the typical, 'We say, they say' from conflicting countries. this proves how sick North Korea can be and how brave the South Koreans are.

Michael Holst's picture

I'd suggest maybe talking about how it's relevant more in your article. You could have just as well taken a photo of your breakfast and told us how you cooked it and used the same reasoning for why it should be on a photography site.

Have you seen the weather channel's website? They have more clickbait than weather information but it must make sense because there's weather going on in most of the videos even though they don't make light of its significance.

Alex Cooke's picture

My breakfast doesn't have major consequences on the course of world events.

Michael Holst's picture

well.....with that attitude...

Anonymous's picture

I've had Beef Wellington and a Napoleon for dinner: both pretty consequential to world events. Next time I'll take a picture!

Alex Cooke's picture

Hahaha, guess I'll have to work harder on my breakfast. ;)

Those are terribly bad comparisons Michael.

Rodrigo Bertin's picture

Waiting for the same sensationalist speech on South Korean defectors (or not even defectors e.g. Ro Su-hui) who are equally repressed and shot because, you know, both countries were "always" on the warpath.

Also: why is this on Fstoppers? [2]

Alex Cooke's picture

See my answer above.

Thuy Vu's picture

It is on here because it falls under Photojournalism. He is just passing along info in case some readers have not seen this footage.

Rodrigo Bertin's picture

Exactly! And I'm Santa Claus. Ho ho ho

jonas y's picture

No, you are just a believer in an ideology, which results in more than 80millions of death across the globe in just 100yrs. I was born in one of these places your fellow believer destroyed, thank you.

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